Over the festive season, a time of year when many families’ finances are stretched, some may be tempted to suspend payment of their medical scheme contributions, exposing their families to significant personal and financial risk.
“We know that over December and January there tends to be an increase in claims for accidental injury and illness. In the tough financial climate South Africans are facing, resigning from medical scheme cover to pay for the additional expenses that arise at this time of the year may seem like an option,” says Mark Arnold, Principal Officer of Resolution Health Medical Scheme.
“We appeal to the public to think twice before adopting this short-sighted approach to funding their summer holidays and festive gifts, because the risk certainly outweighs any perceived saving. The peace of mind that goes with belonging to a trusted medical scheme should not be compromised over the holiday season.”
Arnold points out that accidents, illnesses and other health events can strike when least expected and without valid medical scheme membership the cost of a few days in intensive care in a private hospital can be financially crippling for a family.
“The holiday season should be a time for rest and relaxation, and being a member of a medical scheme means that you do not need to worry about unexpected healthcare expenses. We encourage our members to review their choice of benefit option to ensure that they have adequate cover for the year ahead, and enjoy the peace of mind that this offers.”
To help make the summer holidays as enjoyable and stress-free as possible, Resolution Health recommends that members pack the following items in preparation for their travels.
Your medical scheme membership card
“It is vital to keep your medical scheme membership card, which can be your passport to accessing your healthcare cover benefits, with you at all times – whether you are travelling or not.
“Programme your medical scheme’s contact details for queries and authorisations into your cellphone and have a written copy so that you can easily get in touch with us if you have a question about your benefits or require authorisation for treatment,” Arnold recommends.
Emergency services stickers on your vehicle
“It is always best to be prepared for worst-case scenarios, and this includes ensuring that your vehicle is equipped with a spare tyre, warning triangle and a few basic tools. Another precaution that should not be overlooked is your medical scheme’s emergency medical services stickers on your vehicle,” Arnold advises.
First aid kit
A well-stocked first aid kit can make all the difference in being prepared for possible mishaps when you are away from home. A good first aid kit should include paracetamol, antihistamines, treatments for insect stings, antacid, rehydration remedies and burns ointment, as well as sterile latex gloves, dressings, plasters and disinfectant. Check whether any of the medicines and ointments have expired and restock as necessary.
“It is also a good idea to draw up a list of each family member’s medical information, including any allergies, medication and existing health conditions. Emergency contact numbers and medical scheme membership numbers should also be included as a precaution. Keep a copy of this information handy, either in the glove compartment of your car or in the first aid kit – or both,” Arnold advises.
Ensure you have sufficient amounts of any prescribed medicine before travelling, and keep a copy of the prescription with you. People taking chronic medications, in particular, should stick to their medicine schedule rather than taking a ‘holiday’ from their prescribed treatment, which can place your health at risk.
Do not underestimate the danger or discomfort of sunburn over the holidays. Apply a high sun protection factor sunscreen frequently, even on overcast days,
“Whether you are heading to the beach, the berg, travelling to visit family or simply relaxing at home this festive season, it is always wise to be well prepared. Our members can be assured that we will be ready to assist them over the festive season, should the need arise, and from all of us at Resolution Health we wish you a healthy and prosperous New Year,” Arnold concluded.